How to Remove Soda Stains from a Car

A clean car interior just makes you feel good, and it can help maintain the resale value of your vehicle. Spills are just a part of life and eventually your car interior is going to be the recipient of a spill. If the spill is not cleaned up quickly, it can lead to a permanent stain.

A vehicle’s interior should be cleaned on a regular basis and any spills, big or small, should be tackled as soon as possible. The type of spill you are dealing with will determine the best way to clean it. What works on one stain, may not work on another.

If it was a can of soda that made its way onto your car seat or carpet, here is the best way to deal with it to ensure it doesn’t turn into a permanent stain.

Method 1 of 3: Fabric Upholstery

If the spill happened on the fabric upholstery of one of your car seats, use this method to get it cleaned up and prevent a stain.

Materials Needed

  • Water
  • Clean cloths
  • Dishwashing liquid

Step 1: Use a clean cloth to blot up as much of the spilled soda as possible.

Step 2: Mix a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with a cup and a half of water.

Step 3: Blot the stain. Use a clean cloth or sponge to rub and blot the stain with the dishwashing liquid solution.

hand blotting fabric

Step 4: Soak up the dishwashing liquid solution with a clean cloth.

Step 5: Repeat these steps until the stain is removed.

Step 6: Make sure the fabric is completely dry. Open the vehicle windows if necessary to help the drying process.

Method 2 of 3: Leather or vinyl upholstery

Spills on leather or vinyl are fairly easy to clean. A soda spill should be cleaned up as quickly as possible so it doesn’t dry to the leather or vinyl.

Materials Needed

Step 1: Use a clean cloth to blot up as much of the spilled soda as possible.

Step 2: Mix one drop of dishwashing liquid with a cup and a half of water.

cloth wiping leather seat of car

Step 3: Dampen a clean cloth with the solution and use it to rub the stain. Do not use too much of the solution as getting the leather or vinyl too wet could leave watermarks.

Step 4: Wipe up the solution with a cloth that has been dampened in clean water. You want to be sure to wipe up all of the dishwashing liquid solution.

Step 5: Immediately dry off the leather or vinyl with a clean cloth. Be sure to completely dry the leather or vinyl surface to avoid watermarks.

leather conditioner

Step 6: Apply a leather conditioner to the spot when dry. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to properly apply the conditioner.

Method 3 of 3: Carpeting

If the spill took place on your vehicle’s carpeting, the cleaning method will be similar to cleaning fabric, but with a couple of additional steps.

Materials Needed

  • Water
  • Clean cloths
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • White vinegar
  • Bristle brush

Step 1: Use a clean cloth to blot up as much of the spilled soda as possible.

Step 2: Mix one tablespoon dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon of white vinegar with a cup and a half of water.

Step 3: Use a clean cloth or sponge to rub and blot the stain with the dishwashing liquid and vinegar solution.

scrub brushing carpet

Step 4: If the stain is particularly stubborn, use a bristle brush to really scrub the solution into the stain.

Step 5: Wipe up the solution with a cloth or sponge that has been dampened in clean water. You want to be sure to wipe up all of the dishwashing liquid and vinegar solution.

Step 6: Blot up the water with a clean cloth or towel. Allow the spot to dry. Open the vehicle windows if necessary to aid in the drying process.

If you were able to address the soda spill quickly, your car’s interior should now be none the worse for wear. If the spill dried into a stain, or you had difficulty getting the stain out of your car’s seats or carpet, you may need to have a professional automotive detailer assess the stain.


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